-Dawn (The First)-
Anyone who knew Will Herondale also knew he was stubborn as a mule.
The first time Will unceremoniously called upon the Silent Brothers, was when he stuck himself with a steak knife.
Tessa had looked in horror as Will examined his hand, the blade still impaled through it.
"Will, are you out of your mind? Charlotte just made you the head of the Institute, you can't do ridiculous things like that!"
She itched to draw a rune on him, though she knew she could not.
Will just hmm'ed in concentration.
"Send a message to the Silent Brothers please, Tessy. Let them know that the Head of the London Institute has been wounded and will not be able to handle blades without expert medical care. Ask for Jem- Zachariah."
Tessa had blinked, ready to retort when she realized what her husband was up to.
Though she and Jem had their appointed times, but Jem and Will never had that luxury.
She did as he asked.
As Will had expected, Zachariah was the one that was sent.
When the carriage arrived, Will and Tessa both stood on the doors of the Institute waiting, his hand hastily bandaged by Sophie.
Everyone else at the Institute had returned to their quarters, wanting to give them space.
When the hooded figure dismounted, both of their breaths caught in their throats. His silhouette was no different but his movements had changed. The air of grace which he used to move in, the one that was as known to the two like the back of their own hands, had changed in a way neither could pinpoint.
When he began to mount the stairs, Tessa squeezed arm in support and left, leaving the two.
The Silent Brother looked at Will with huge eyes that made Will's heart ache. Zachariah wasn't quite the same as his parabatai, his friend and his brother who trained with him and would always have his back.
Yet, somehow, this would have to be enough.
"Thank you for coming, Brother Zachariah."
The Silent Brother inclined his head as Will showed his way to the old library- their old meeting place. He walked quickly, knowing that Jem would know exactly where to go.
Reaching the familiar room which smelt the same as it always did, Will took a seat on the table, bringing back echoes of old memories involving mischief and battle-plans.
When Zachariah pushed back this hood, Will nearly laughed. If he unfocused his eyes, he could almost pretend the figure before him was his old Jem, with his silvery hair wisping around his pale face.
His eyes half-closed, he watched Jem bend over his impaled hand and began to heal him.
"What an odd wound." Jem's slightly accented voice remarked. Will's heart soared. Even through all of his changes, Will could detect Jem's good-natured teasing. Of course he know.
"The Head of the Institute has a great many unique ordeals." he replied, keeping his voice light.
Jem made a noise of agreement and mended his hand in silence.
When he was finished, the two paused, both unwilling to be the first to move.
Finally, Jem reached out and gripped Will's good hand.
"I am still here."
Will snorted, jerking his chin up.
"Never doubted it. I wouldn't have chosen someone unreliable as my parabatai after-all."
If Jem could smile, Will was sure he would have seen the familiar crinkle of laugh lines around his parabatai's eyes. Jem was terrible was concealing his mirth, even at the worst of Will's terrible jokes.
They sat in the dark, just listening to each other breathe.
For minutes, in hours, or was it days?
Finally, Jem stood, the robes of the Silent Brothers shifting to his movements.
"I trust I have done my service." he said, reaching up and covering his head with this hood, concealing Will's old Jem away.
"I thank you." Will finally murmured. Watching Tessa meet Brother Zachariah at the door to show him out, he looked heavenwards.
"Go in peace brother."
His sharp eyes did not miss the sudden tension between Brother Zachariah's shoulders.
-Morning (The Second)-
Brother Zachariah had been summoned to the Institute yet again.
This time, all the shadowhunters of the London Institute had gotten in a nasty scuffle with a group of rogue vampires they had chased down. Though most of them had gotten away with only a few scratches, Will (of course) had a deep wound he could not recall receiving. In fear that there was vampire blood in the wound, Cecily had called the Silent Brothers herself.
Standing at Will's bedside, Jem stopped, his hood already down as he walked into the room. He had checked up all the other fighters –Gabriel, Gideon, Cecily, Sophie- each and every one looking at him wistfully.
"Jem!" Will gasped, shifting his body to get a better look at him.
"You know better than to throw yourself into fights like that." Jem admonished, his slender fingers already working to inspect the wound up Will's side.
"I always forget."
"That there isn't someone there with me, who know how I move, who can predict what I shall do next and who's face I will be kicking in."
Will did not expect to feel Jem's fingers tighten around his wrist, as his hair fell forward to obscure his face.
When I am in the darkness, I am still with you.
Even in his mind, Jem's voice had the unique lilt that Will was so used to hearing, it instantly brought him back to the days of boyhood.
Will had to swallow the lump in his throat. His hand had moved to cover Jem's and for an instant, he thought about Jem's fingers flying over the strings of his violin.
Finally, the two let each other go and Jem returned to healing Will.
Lying on his bed, he looked at his ceiling of his bedroom he had shared with Tessa for years.
"Tessa still walks with her feet pointed out, you know." he observed, wincing when Jem probed a particularly deep wound.
He could feel the buzz of Jem's muted laugh in his mind.
"Like a duck."
He looked over to see a corner of Jem's mouth quirk up.
"Is that so?" Jem answered.
"Yes. I've tried to correct her from it, it's her one and only true failing."
"I liked ducks."
Will tried to ignore Jem's use of past-tense.
"Yes, and that is your one and only true failing."
The comforting press of Jem's amusement in his head relaxed Will.
"Tessa was previously telling me that you have wagged a war on the ducks in the family pond in Yorkshire." Jem said, pouring out a cup of holy water.
Will nodded after he took a deep drink. He didn't feel ill, that was a good sign.
"I must think of the safety of my future family."
"As expected from a good Shadowhunter."
Will could have sworn that Jem was almost being facetious at that moment.
The night went on as such, Will telling Jem observations he had seen about their friends, their loved ones and their old home.
Finally, Will fell asleep, unable to fight against the draw of his dreams.
Jem left as silently as he came, pausing at the door.
Only the walls heard him whisper.
"cysgu frawd yn dda"
Sleep well, brother.
-Noon (The Third)-
Will has stopped feigning any sort of neutrality with the Silent Brothers.
"I want Brother Zachariah to perform the protection ceremony for my child."
Charlotte sighed, pinching her nose.
The Silent Brothers betrayed no emotion.
Brother Zachariah is not a full-fledged Silent Brother
"But his lack of markings does not change the performance or potency of the ceremony. I know, I've done my readings." Will drawled.
When they did not respond, Will continued.
"This is the first born of the Herondale line. Both my wife and I should have the authority to make any decisions in regards to their safety and protection, do we not? And we feel that Brother Zachariah would be the best for this situation."
He could hear Gabriel a few paces behind him, whisper to Cecily.
"Were your brother not a passable Shadowhunter, I would have sworn his calling would have to been a lawyer."
After much debate, the Silent Brothers gave the biggest show of disgust they could have felt, with a deep collective sigh in Will's mind and agreed to make sure that Brother Zachariah was assigned to the ceremony.
A few days later, Jem's familiar figure, a regular guest at the London Institute, appeared on the doorstep of Will and Tessa's family home in Yorkshire.
Though nursemaids would attend to the birthing process, Jem would be the witness after the birth and would escort the family to the Silent City for the ritual.
Will sat outside of the birthing room, almost missing Jem's entrance.
Jem sat lightly next to him.
"You have come."
Jem's nod was almost impeccable. He laid his hand on Will's shoulder.
"Tessa is strong. Your first-born will be strong as well. How could we expect otherwise?"
Trust Jem to know what to say, even after years apart.
Straightening, he turned to look at his former parabatai. Sometimes, he swore that his old wound where his parabatai rune used to sit, would ache just a little when he was in this close proximity to Jem.
He could barely make out Jem's features under the shadow of the hood.
"Have you decided on names?"
Will couldn't keep his smile off his face.
"Lucie, if we have a girl. And if it's a boy..." he paused, "James. If I have a first-born son, his name will be James."
Jem's sharp intake of breathe surprised Will.
Jem's shoulders shook as he brought his hands up to cover his face, thumbs over the red scars on each cheek.
When Will shifted, Jem turned away, only the sounds of breathing echoing down the hallway.
Long moments passed, both surprised by the depths of emotion Jem was displaying.
Finally, Jem turned around again, wonder still radiating from him.
Will couldn't help but laugh at his expression.
"Really Jem, how could you have imagined any different from Tessa and I? Besides, if families often name their children after each other, why should we deviate from that practice. You yourself said it once, do you still remember?"
"Wo men shi jie bai xiong di."
"Yes. And you wouldn't take that back now, of all times, when my wife is suffering the agony of childbirth."
"You never change."
"And in your eyes, I still find grace. Can you believe that?
Though Jem's eyes were now closed, somehow the words still rang true.
-Afternoon (The Fourth)-
When Brother Zachariah walked up the steps of the London Institute, he almost felt he could feel the dents worn in the stone of his steps, year in and year out.
He had been summoned again, by Will Herondale and if the Silent Brothers were capable of frustration, he would be the source of it.
To his surprise, it was Will and not Tessa or Sophie on the steps waiting for him.
"Brother Zachariah" he inclined his head.
"Yes." He looked at him critically. "I came with a report of a serious injury to your very confounding self."
Will chuckled, closing the doors of the Institute behind him.
"Change of plans, really." he replied.
"Will, you know we musn't do this. You will be punished."
"Details," the dark-haired man waved away his concerns.
"Then what is the story now?" Jem could almost feel himself falling back to old traditions, old rituals in this familiar setting.
"It's Lucie's birthday, Jem. I'm so offended you had forgotten. But do not worry, you weren't expected to bring any gift except for your time."
Against all odds, the Herondale children were fascinated by him. Though he was not a constant presence in their lives by any stretch of the imagination, the two children still were drawn to him.
"Now, where is that child?" Will said aloud. "Luc?"
There was no response.
"I'll go find her," Will reassured, "Don't leave now, she would be so terribly disappointed."
Leaving Jem in the hall, Will dashed down the corridor, looking for his youngest. Listening to his footsteps echo away, Jem found himself gliding down familiar halls, muscle memory bringing him back to an old familiar room. His room.
Cracking open the door, he was surprised at the sight. He expected the room to either be covered in dust or completely changed.
Yet, there it was, his old bed and desk, everything well-dusted. His box, given to him by his mother (whose memory grew hazy), still sat on the bedside table. The room showed signs of frequent use, the bed with a slight dent where someone sat often. The desk had books stacked around it, the chair pushed out, as if someone had forgotten to put in back in place, after getting up.
His violin sat on a shelf, the wood of the case perfectly polished and gleaming.
Looking at the table, he started. A picture of a man, the lines shaky but the eyes, the cheeks and the chin were unmistakably his (it had been so long, he almost forgot what he looked like), sat framed, above the desk. Next to it hung a small mirror.
He didn't even turn when he heard the door behind him creak open.
"I thought I might find you here," Will's voice was amused.
When Jem did not respond, Will walked in and stood with him.
"This is where Tessie and I come when we are feeling particularly under duress. It's our shared study, where we may come to read and talk and occasionally listen to music."
Jem could imagine it perfectly, Will perched capriciously at the desk, legs askew as usual, Tessa perched on the bed, both quietly reading to themselves with Chopin playing to fill the comfortable silence.
"The picture?" Jem asked, hands clasped tightly beneath the sleeves of his robes.
"James drew it. He's quite a budding little artist, the cheeky thing." Will couldn't sound more like a proud father. "He drew it, after you came to heal me once."
"And the mirror?" Jem asked quietly.
"Did you not tell both Tessa and I, that our hearts need mirrors reflected by the eyes of those who love us?"
Jem could not respond to that. Even after so many years, with the years changing the both of them significantly, Will could surprise him.
In just a few words, they were seventeen and dreaming about the word again.
-Evening (The Fifth)-
Whenever a request came in from the London Institute, the Silent Brothers no longer bothered to seek out another other than Brother Zachariah. Summons usually were sent directly to him and they no longer questioned it.
When Jem mentioned this situation to Will, during one of the many times Will had injured himself, Will looked far too pleased at this turn of events.
Tessa looked in that particular night, to their bedroom, where Will looked pale and drawn, demon poison burning him from the inside. Though Jem had already done all he could, he still sat at the bedside, Will's hand in his.
They all knew he was not supposed to be there that night, that he should have left hours ago but no one voiced those thoughts.
It was curious, Tessa mused. Time had changed the two of them so significantly.
Will, who now looked like a proper father, laugh lines etched into his skin, was losing his dark features. His hair grew increasingly gray each day (which he insisted was simply a sacrifice for taking a wife whose name who was "Gray") and with the Shax demon poison running through him, looked incredibly pale. The moonlight that peeked through their curtains completed that illusion.
On the other hand, Jem's hair was slowly but surely becoming dark. At first, she couldn't imagine their Jem without his silvery eyes and hair like mercury but both Will and her rejoiced as Jem was returning to a time that dated even before the two of them.
The image of a head of dark hair leaning over a head of light hair spread out across the pillow was so familiar, yet bizarre.
"You know," Jem mused, "For someone who runs such an incredible campaign for the awareness and prevention of demon pox, you do get in some pretty ridiculous situations with them."
Will cracked open an eye and raised an eyebrow. That was all the answer Jem needed.
-Midnight (The Last)-
The first place that Jem had gone after the runes were taken off of him was not Blackfriars bridge. Instead, he travelled to Idris.
Though he knew that Will's bones did not rest there, but instead, still worked guarding the city, he felt there was no other way to do this.
He slipped through rows and rows of markers –"Fairchild, Lightwood, Blackthorn, Aldertree, Starkweather"- and came to a stop at a familiar name.
"William Owen Herondale".
He could almost hear Will in the back of his mind, indignant at the use of his full name ("No one actually calls me William Owen, it's ridiculous").
Settling onto his knees, he dusted off the plaque. It was clear that Tessa had not been here for a while.
Running his fingers over the letters, he took a deep breathe.
"Will, it's me. I'm sure you scarcely recognize your old, childhood companion." He brushed his hair self-consciously.
"But then again, you had always been remarkably perceptive when you chose to do so."
"I'm sorry I wasn't faster. That I couldn't have spent out my last days with you. This rather puts our plans to meet each other in the next life in an awkward position, does it not? But perhaps, you have already returned to this world, too impatient for your slow friend."
Jem laughed at the thought of meeting an reincarnated Will.
"If that is the case, then perhaps, we are meant to take turns. Wouldn't that be an interesting turn of events?"
And Tessa would not have to be alone.
"I apologize for that. You know I'm here to ask for courage and strength."
He sat back on his heels and looked skyward.
"I'm going to be seeing Tessa soon. What do I tell her? How do I begin to express my thoughts? I never had your way with words, you know. I know I already have your blessing, but it's been so long.
It's been too long."
Jem sat in silence for longer until the evening wind began to nip at his clothing.
"Your wall came down. Perhaps it's time for mine to do so as well."
He finally stood, head bowed.
"Mizpah, xiong di."
And the wind whispered back.
I take your hand, brother, so you may go in peace.